President of the Jamaica Association for Public Health Inspectors (JAPHI), Karen Brown, says that all reports made about non-compliant food establishments are taken seriously.
“When a report is made on a food handling establishment, it is considered almost like an emergency, where it is investigated within 24 hours, that is what is required,” Ms. Brown informed.
She said upon inspection, if the findings indicate that there are significant challenges that may compromise public health, then immediate closure can take place, which is then endorsed by the parish medical officer of health.
“Maybe there are some deviations from the requirements that may not be found to be high risk, they may get a warning letter and they may get time, not exceeding 21 days to correct those deficiencies. When the revisit [of the premises] is done, if the [entity] is compliant, then maybe [they] will either be recommended for certification or given the nod of approval,” Ms. Brown noted.
She was addressing a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank which was held at the agency’s Montego Bay Regional Office recently.
Meanwhile, Ms. Brown pointed out that institutions are monitored depending on what is happening there.
“For example, it is generally required that a school be inspected at least once per quarter, that is the requirement. However, in most instances, these are at least inspected once per year. If there are challenges identified in these facilities, the necessary follow up is done within seven, 21 days and [so forth],” Ms. Brown stated.